Light Italian Dish: Seppie e Piselli (Cuttlefish and Peas)

Seppie e PiselliI don’t know how often it happens to you but to me it happens quite a bit especially when the weather changes. if it goes for hot to cold I instantly crave comfort and my comfort is always something like a homemade soup.
My go to for sure is Pasta e Fagioli (recipe here), but there are other things I crave as well; and the other thing is something I rarely make at home but mainly order in a restaurant. It’s called Seppie e Piselli which means Cuttlefish and Peas. It’s a very popular, simple but a delicious Italian dish.

It’s low calorie, healthy, light but yet hearty and totally satisfying to the palate. I actually attempted making it the other day and other than shelling the peas it was quite simple to make and the result was an amazing meal.
I’m not the biggest fan of peas. I just don’t care for them but in this recipe they are delightful. Accompany this recipe with some nice fresh baked bread and you’ve got yourself something that will change you forever. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 lbs. of fresh Cuttlefish
14 oz. fresh Peas, shelled
1 Onion
2 Garlic cloves
1 cup of Tomato sauce
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Clean the cuttlefish (I got mine cleaned), rinse under the sink and then slice in small strips.
Slice onion and garlic coarsely and add to a saucepan with the Evoo, once golden add the cuttlefish, peas and tomato sauce.
Turn heat to low add the salt and allow to cook for about 30-40 minutes. If you need you may add water.

Now you may eat.

Advertisements

Mussels, pomodorini and alotta Love!

I can’t believe that I actually let over a month go by since my last post. I’m embarrassed that I just haven’t fit in the time to write a recipe or give you some of my knowledge on how to eat and stay thin too!
Today I specifically took the day of work tomorrow, we head to Ibiza tomorrow for a little vacation and I figured I might as well take the day off and just clean, workout, blog, relax and cook my husband a nice dinner. I still don’t know what I’m going to make but it’s going to seafood something. I really like to make special healthy meals for my husband. But as of late I leave the house at 7:30am and get home at about 20:00 at night leaving me very little time to experiment in the kitchen; so I resort to salads, grilled food and that’s about that.Today I will cook up something and then post it next time around.

It’s a beautiful autumn day. The leaves are starting to fall, the weather is perfect, I had a kick ass workout and I am in such a good mood.
Speaking about mood, did I ever mention that your mood directly affects your weight? well it does!

I think that everyone is always so focused on what to eat that we forget that no matter how healthy we are if we are miserable we will never achieve that healthy thin body we want. Mental health plays a big role in weight loss and healthy nutrition.
The thing is that depending on what mood you are you are releasing chemicals into your bloodstream and this causes a reaction to where your body wants you to feel good so instead of focusing on maybe digestion, fat burn, or energy it focuses on protecting you from the attack that is your chemical imbalances.

So, you can eat as healthy as you want but if the whole time you are thinking that you are fat and ugly that ‘peach’ you are eating, is not going to make you skinny and pretty. It’s not the peach or forced salad which you think is absolutely disgusting that is going to fix your problem. It will put you on the path to a healthier you, but it’s not going to fix your problem. You need to start loving yourself and be happy, this is going to make you make healthy choices and you’ll see the pounds start coming off. Mind over matter.

Now with that being said get in the kitchen and make yourself a delicious light and simple meal tonight. I love Mussels. They are full of antioxidants, potassium, zinc, minerals and iodine; they also contain vitamin C & B and let’s not forget that they are full of iron. They are low in fat with only 86 calories per 100 grams.
This dish is super simple, fast and amazingly delicious.

Ingredients:
Serves 2-4

1 kilo of Mussels

1 Garlic clove, peeled and minced

Grape Tomatoes, a handful

2 tsp. Chili peppers, optional

1 bunch Parsley, fresh and chopped

3 drizzles of EVOO

To clean the mussels:
Run under cold water, remove the beard and scrub the shell. Eliminate the ones that are open or have a crushed shell. Once all this is done rinse and set aside.

Prepare:
Place big pan over high heat, drizzle the evoo, add the garlic and chili peppers, cook just a bit and then add your tomatoes allow to cook just for about 5 minutes. Add your mussels and cover with lid just until all of the mussels have opened, should take about 5-8 minutes. Do not mix during this time.

Turn heat off sprinkle the parsley and then gently mix. Now serve and if you want place a delicious piece of bread at the center of the table and enjoy!

1st Cooking Vlog

I’ve wanted for sometime now to post a video on cooking and health tips but also on how to make some of my favorite recipes.

I’ve taken so long because I don’t know too much about this whole thing and also I don’t want to put up something stupid but I do know that once I start posting videos it’s going to need some upkeep; perhaps not every week, but definitely once or twice a month to start out.

I’m sure there will be room for improvement but I hope that you enjoy the videos and find them helpful yet fun and easy to follow.

Alright, so let’s get to what I decided to post as my first video and why?

I chose Octopus because it’s one of the most popular things to eat in Italy. It’s always served simple yet it’s one of those things that you want to see how it’s cooked before you attempt to do it yourself. It’s not hard but reading how to cook it vs. visualizing it is so different. It simplifies any questions one might have.

I love Octopus. I know what you are thinking and you are right. Had I not grown up in Italy and tasted this and how delicious it is you probably couldn’t get me to try it out now. But, then again my Husband didn’t grow up eating it and he loves it so who knows.

It’s almost the same texture as lobster or shrimp and pretty much similar in taste.

Make sure that your Octopus is cleaned already. Here in Italy that’s the way they are sold most of the time. However, the cleaning is easy you need to cut off the eyes, teeth and remove the ink sack, then rinse really well under the water to remove any sand.

The general rule of thumb in cooking it is approx. 20 minutes per 500gr. (I got 1 kilo so 40 minutes) you want to make sure that the water is boiling before you put your Octopus in and then put on the lid and lower flame to a minimum for the full cooking time.

Some say to salt the water others believe that you shouldn’t and because there are so many mixed feelings I’ve decided that I don’t add salt to mine and only in the end when I’m dressing it. Works out perfectly.

Follow the steps in the video for cooking the Octopus. I’ll list here what you’ll need.

  • Octopus
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Some Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • Juice of ½ a Lemon (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Add so boiled Potatoes to complete the dish (optional)

Light & Clean Meal: Salmon & Green Beans

Let’s talk and make something healthy, light and nutritious.

It’s definitely getting colder outside, the heat is on and I don’t know if where you live they are putting up Christmas decorations but they definitely are here in Italy. All the shops, city centers, coffee shops and even the grocery stores are decorated and selling all things Christmas. I do love Christmas but I think that it might just be a bit too early for me to start decorating the house.

I feel like we recently just stopped going to the beach; wait actually I was at the beach the last week of October in my bikini, so yeah we did just end summer. Either summer ended late (which actually it did because it started late) but hold-your-horses I still want fall. I have mentioned this before and I will mention it again….I love Fall. With that being said there are some dishes I find to be perfect for both summer & winter. They are not too light or too heavy they are at that perfect in-between that is perfect year round.

Just like I change out my closets, I change my style in the kitchen. I tend to go for lots of salads, grilled veggies and lean proteins (which mainly consist of chicken and lots and lots of fresh seafood of all sorts), frittata’s, white wine, espresso and lots of raw veggies and homemade parfaits in the summer.

I generally cook lots of soups, roasted vegetables and chicken, fish al cartoccio, slower cooked winter stews such as Chicken Cacciatora, Chicken Adobo, all-vegetable stew, stuffed vegetables, cappuccino’s, red wine and lots of steamed vegetables and healthy baked treats in the winter.

Then of course there are those foods (and there  are quite a few) that I eat year round to name a few: risotto, pasta, pizza, cheese (parmigiano, pecorino & mozzarella my favorite), salads, tuna, fruit, nuts, ice-cream (occasionally but sometimes I crave it more in the winter than the summer), nut butters, and in this case Salmon.

Salmon is wonderful. It tastes fantastic both steamed, baked, grilled, smoked and even as a carpaccio. So it really doesn’t matter what the temp is outside your body will always welcome it.

Full of Omega 3, DHA & EPA Salmon has a whole bunch of amazing benefits for your body, mind and being. It boosts brain function, reduces inflammation, supports cardiovascular health, protects your eyes, increases bone density & strength, and about 3-6oz of Salmon can supply you with a days worth of Vitamin D crucial to maintaining optimal health. Plus many more benefits.
It’s so good for you and can be eaten both summer and winter and you won’t mind!

Your best bet is to consume wild or organically farmed fish to avoid any additional pesticides, fungicides and excessive omega-6 consumption (which leads to inflammation) found in conventionally farmed fish.

Here’s my light, healthy, toxic-free dinner to keep you in good health and shape.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

For the Salmon you’ll need:

  • 2 sheets of Aluminum foil
  • 2 6oz Salmon Filets
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt & Peppercorns to taste
  • Chili Flakes (optional)

For the Green Beans you’ll need:

  • 3 cups Green Beans, end cut off
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat your oven @ 350

Place a medium pot half filled of water to boil.

Grab salmon filets and place each on at the center of the aluminum foil sprinkle with salt & peppercorns. Slice your lemon and place 2 slices over each filet. Get your foil and lightly wrap creating sort of a pocket or bag; you don’t want it touching the top of salmon. Make sure no open areas around the filets, place on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes.

Your water should be boiling by now so through in your green beans allow to boil until turns bright green about 6 minutes or desired doness. I like mine just a bit crunchy.
Prepare a bowl of cold water with some ice cubes. Drain your green beans and quickly place them in the bowl of cold water. This allows them to stop cooking instantly and preserves the vibrant color of the vegetable. Drain place in a bowl and drizzle the EVOO, Lemon juice, salt and pepper mix thoroughly and set on table.

Your Salmon should be ready remove from oven be careful when you open the pockets as some steam may come out (it burns).
Serve with Green beans and Enjoy!

Mazzancolle al Sale Marino – Sea Salt & Peppercorn Prawns (A Skinny Girl Dish)

We all know how good seafood is for you. It’s a healthy and good for you protein. I myself am a huge fan of anything fish/seafood. One of my favorites are prawns or shrimp. Seafood should be a healthy part of your diet. Prawns health benefits are many one of them being its rich content of selenium and 100 g mineral content per serving which prevents the growth of cancer cells therefore protecting the body from cancer.

One serving of prawns only contains 1.73 g of total fat, with less than 1 g of that being saturated. Prawns also contain .49 g of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, the fatty acids in prawns reduces and prevents the body against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

A serving of prawns supplies you with 20.3 g of protein. Proteins in prawns provides body with growth and development. The calories in prawns are less when compared to meat and beef. Moreover the nutritional benefits of prawns make it healthy for the body while adding taste to the food. This is why prawns have nutritional benefits.

Loaded with protein, vitamin D, vitamin B3, and zinc, Prawns are an excellent, carbohydrate-free food for anyone determined to shed off pounds. Zinc supplementation of zinc deficient subjects has been shown to increase the levels of circulating leptin. Leptin is a hormone that plays a key role in regulating the body’s energy expenditure, fat storage, and appetite. Insufficient leptin levels are believed to be the primary cause of food cravings, overeating, and obsession with food. The iodine in shrimp is good for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland which controls the basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which the body consumes energy at rest. Iodine deficiency can result in sluggish thyroid activity which in turn can lead to weight gain or hinder weight loss.

Enjoy the nutritional and health benefits of prawn.
I went to the store the other day and they had these beautiful looking prawns. I had to buy them. Other than the obvious delicious ways I enjoy making them (grilled, steamed, lightly sauteed and of course boiled and added to a salad) I decided that I would go ahead and try this more than famous Italian recipe.
I didn’t have obviously enough salt in the house to completely cover them so I used what I had and added a few extra twists of my own (as always), but the result was to die for. I hope that you Enjoy.
Ingredients:
Serves 2
  • 10 Prawns or Large Shrimp
  • 1 cup Sea Salt
  • A bunch of mixed dried Herbs, rosemary, thyme, and whatever you like
  • 1/4 cup mixed whole Peppercorns
Preheat your oven at 200°C (400°F)
Wash your Prawns and dry them with a paper towel. Mix the salt together with herbs and peppercorns. Pour half of the flavored salt in the bottom of your baking dish and arrange the prawns evenly.
Coat the shrimp with the rest of the flavored salt and cook for 15-20 min at 200°C, when color changes.
Rinse salt off before serving this way you don’t eat too much salt and you don’t get bloated, but you have the amazing flavor. Ha! Enjoy!

Light, Healthy, Skinny Recipes to help you get that Summer Body

Summer is right around the corner and if you are scrambling to get that latest diet or what have you to help you get in shape I suggest you to just start eating healthy.
This means more seasonal fresh foods, like vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts. I live and eat these food groups; and I seem to be doing just fine. The thing about this lifestyle is that you don’t have to constantly be thinking about what you can eat  and what you can’t, how you are going to feel the next day, if your shorts are a bit too tight (or if you’re bulging out of your bikini).
The summer is tough enough already trying to keep yourself hydrated, cool, comfortable, tanning, hair, skin, etc… the last thing you need is to be stressed out about some sort of diet! How many calories, carbs, fat, non-fat, this n’ that. Just eat healthy fresh foods. They provide you with the energy, hydration and beautiful radiant skin to show off; not to mention a smaller waist.

I have a lot of different salads and ways I like to eat my vegetables and of course it’s not hot yet so a salad might not be something that you want to eat. If you start eating healthy now and leave out as much junk food as possible (i.e. artificial sweeteners, sodas, chips, fried foods, prepackaged foods & sweets, along with anything you can’t pronounce) you are going to be in fantastic shape by the summer. It’s really simple you just need to train your body to eat healthy. It’s a chain reaction; once you cut out the bad stuff your body will not crave it anymore. Trust me!

There are billions of ways you can make salads or healthy foods. They aren’t complicated and they don’t have to be boring. I know that the winter isn’t quite over yet and I know a salad might not always give you that warmth of comfort food that you are craving so I have a nice warm healthy recipes here that are simple and delicious.

Warm Bibb Salad w/ Roasted Asparagus and Feta

  • 1 medium head of Bibb salad, washed and pulled apart
  • 10 Asparagus
  • 1/2 lb Feta
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • E.V. Olive oil
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven at 400°F (200°C). Get a baking dish lay out your Asparagus, drizzle with a little e.v.o. and sprinkle salt and pepper and red chili flakes. Place baking tray in oven and bake for 15 min.
In a medium pan, drizzle some olive oil, allow to heat over medium heat and then add your garlic; once golden add your bibb lettuce season with salt and pepper and carefully mix. You don’t want it to burn or break, just allow it to wilt and then turn off.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your asparagus, top with some wilted lettuce and then sprinkle feta evenly on top and enjoy!

Warm bibb salad with roasted asaragus and feta

Pulled Chicken Breast with Pinto Beans and Avocado
Serves 2

  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 cups Pinto Beans, boiled *
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, steamed & shredded**
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 Chilli, fresh & diced (optional)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Handful Parsley and Cilantro, washed
  • 2 tbsp. E.V.O oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan add the e.v.o. heat over medium flame and then add the garlic; cook to golden add your tomatoes, chili and beans. Simmer for about 5 minutes then add about 1/2 of your parsley and cilantro then salt, pepper and continue to cook for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your chicken and add the beans on the side. Cut your avocado in half and slice lay on top of food and serve with remaining parsley and cilantro. Sprinkle some salt over avocado. Enjoy!

*You can use a canned beans, just make sure to drain and rinse well. ** For the Chicken, Place in steamer and cook until fork inserted and liquid runs clear. Cool and pull apart. You can boil it too. Season with some salt and pepper.

Pulled Chicken w/ Pinto beans and avocado

Sesame Crusted Tuna on a bed of Cucumber & Arugula topped w/ Avocado
Serves 2

  • 2 6-8 oz Tuna Steaks
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 cups Arugula
  • Sesame seeds, (enough to coat tuna)
  • E.V.O. oil
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • Drizzle of Light Soy sauce (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Salt and Pepper your Tuna steaks, now coat in sesame seeds and set aside.
Grab a mandolin and slice you cucumber, peel and all. (You can peel if you want I liked the texture of it on). Place on the plate one by one creating a nice flat base pattern.

Place a medium pan over medium flame, drizzle some e.v.o and when hot add the tuna steaks, cook for about 2 minutes on each side and quickly on the corners as well. Remove allow to sit for 2 min and then slice or leave whole.

Get you Arugula and toss in some e.v.o, 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place a bit at the center of each dish. Place the Tuna steak on the bed of arugula.
Slice Avocado in half, slice again into thin pieces and place on top of tuna topping with a drizzle of soy and remaining lemon. Enjoy!

Sesame crusted Tuna over cucmber and arugula topped with avocado

Shaved Asparagus & Radish w/ Shrimp in a Multi-Lettuce Salad
Serves 2

  • 1/2 lb Shrimp, cooked and deveined
  • 8 Asparagus, washed
  • Handful Radishes, washed
  • 4 Mushrooms, cleaned
  • 5 cups Italian lettuce, (radicchio, romaine, arugula, etc…)
  • 4 tbsp. E.V.O. oil
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Place your salad in a large bowl. Grab a mandolin start slicing your asparagus long-wise, now start slicing your radishes and mushrooms, add all these ingredients to salad bowl as well as shrimp.

Whisk together last 4 ingredients, drizzle over salad and toss until completely combined and serve. Enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus and Shrimp salad

And there you have it. Options for your healthy eating. It seems so hard to eat healthy, but in all reality it’s easy and a pleasure. I hope that you enjoy these recipes and feel free to substitute with other vegetables or protein. They are simple, fun, delicious but most of all light and nutritious. They will give you energy and help you feel great and ready for the summer. Happy cooking. Let me know what you think and also try to incorporate a little physical activity to give you that extra boost you need to get you feeling sexy. Ciao

P.s. remember I am not a nutritionist, dietician so please consult your doctor before you go on any diet or change any lifestyle.

Stay Thin & get all your Omega-3, Iron & More with this Amazing Dish

I’ve missed you guys these past weeks. I had a wonderful time visiting friends and family in the USA and really enjoyed this much need vacation.
As you all know the USA is trying to start a health revolution (well it has been for awhile) but it’s taking sometime to get people on board with it. Even though it has come long ways it still seems that habits are hard to break. And although they are trying to get people to eat more organic and healthy foods they seem to constantly come up with new healthy products that are supposed to replace the unhealthy products, I like to call them ‘healthy junk food’. That’s what it is. Instead of stopping to produce say potato chips, they come up with a healthier potato chip, made with flax seeds, chia seeds, rice flour, bean flour, natural flavorings, etc…it’s still a freaking chip; albeit healthier still a chip. Why not reach for a handful of almonds, or some fresh fruit, or veggies, some yogurt, an egg or even a piece of parmigiano reggiano cheese?! These are healthy, whole and organic replacements to junk foods. I am not saying that those better for you chips aren’t better for you but why do they have to have a whole aisle and a half in a grocery store full of chips. It’s too much!

I am lucky that I have learned early on in life what eating healthy is all about and that here in Italy it’s so easy to do that. Healthy tastes so good! I am one of those people who will always opt to eat something healthy over something that has no nutritional value but may sound good.
For Me, healthy does sound good. I know people often times relate this word ‘healthy’, to boring, tasteless, unworthy, complicated and uninviting. Total opposite for me. I relate it to delicious, flavorful, easy, worth it, inviting with a wonderful array of options and colors.

I love knowing that what I am putting into my body is helping me stay healthy and I’m not putting crap in my body that is actually going to cost me my health, weak bone density, tooth decay, dull and unhealthy hair, wrinkles and ugly skin, GI problems, illnesses, etc….
Eating healthy is a habit but a good one to form. I have wrote about Healthy Eating habits and the wonderful effects it as on your body from weight-loss to feeling fantastic and how to do it here and here.

This next recipe is super simple and so good for you and trust me you will not be disappointed with the flavor it has. To top it all off it packed of healthy Nutrients, Vitamins and it’s Delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Serves 2

2 6-oz Salmon fillets

1/2 lb of Spinach

1 cup of Lentils

1 1/2 cup of Veggie broth, low sodium

1 Shallot, chopped finely

1-2 dried Chili peppers, whole (optional)

Extra virgin Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small pot add 1 drizzle of olive oil, allow to heat and then add 1/2 the chopped shallot. Once shallot has reached cooking time, needs to be translucent you may throw in your lentils, salt and pepper then add your chili’s and broth. Cover and allow to cook at medium low heat for about 15-20 minutes.

In a separate pan add some olive oil place over medium heat and add the shallot, following cooking instructions same as for lentils. Now add your spinach, followed by salt and pepper; lower heat and cover. Cooking time may vary, it needs to wilt so when you see that it has wilted continue to cook for about 5 minutes and then turn off.

For the Salmon you are going to salt and pepper both sides. Place a pan over high heat add a small drizzle of olive oil, allow to heat completely and then carefully add your salmon. Cook for about 5 minutes and then flip over cooking for another 5 minutes.

Everything at this point should be cooked. So you may serve.